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Monday
Apr172017

"When it comes to sportsmanship, Dufner is a slouch"

While he didn't spoil the otherwise pleasant and satisfying RBC Heritage final round, Jason Dufner did open a few more eyes to a sour attitude that has lingered well past the Sell By date for someone with so much talent.

His plight is especially perplexing given how much fans want to root for him and media wants to hear from the 2013 PGA Champion, whose dry wit and insights would be welcomed if he were not on a media blackout for two years running now.

From the Heritage final round:


After Sunday's bizarro putter drop and ensuing backlash (Emily Kay with the roundup)

Alex Miceli of the MorningRead.com takes Dufner to task for Sunday's act.

Dufner instead walks the fairways every week as if someone were drawing blood from his veins, lifeless and without purpose.

That’s his prerogative, but most players understand that professional golf is entertainment, so they do what they can to provide fans with excitement and enjoyment.

Dufner? Well, look at what he did Sunday at the RBC Heritage.

Starting the final round with a one-shot lead, Dufner struggled. After missing a 7-foot par putt on the par-5 sixth hole – which he had eagled a day earlier – he tapped in the 2-foot bogey putt, dropped his putter onto the green and walked away, leaving caddie Kevin Baile to clean up the mess.

Twitter respondents called Dufner’s behavior disgusting.

I’d go further and say it’s despicable.

Golf is a game of honor and integrity. Dufner’s actions were the opposite of those characteristics.
Graham DeLaet, looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour, had the misfortune of being Dufner’s playing competitor and also was having a bad day. DeLaet didn’t display the childish emotions of Dufner.

If there is a silver lining, Dufner's behavior reminds us how fine the sportsmanship is most weeks and how appropriate it was that Wesley Bryan, a picture of class and professionalism, posted a final round 67 to win his first PGA Tour event.

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Reader Comments (48)

Did Skratch actually think that was cool behavior?
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterScratch
What I find truly amazing is all of the articles killing Dufner about the putter drop, is that not one of them mentions if they asked him about this post round.
Maybe he was goofing with his caddy, maybe it was something more. But without anyone asking, we are forced to guess his motives.
Bad job by the press.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGus
Dufner lived off of Amanda's fame long enough. I think the article is a little too harsh. He seems like a nice guy, didn't he give Tiger permission to date Amanda while they were still married?
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commentertbinsocal
Is this a new form of Dufnering?....not sure why he would drop the putter like that even if he was po'd about missing the previous 4 footer....but the video makes him look like a d-bag.....also not sure that a lot of fans are rooting for Dufner these days based on his seemingly disinterested appearance while playing golf and making a very good living.....a major champion for sure but one who may earn membership in the PGA's list of excellent players that were/are one-hit wonders.....Keegan B, Shaun M, David T, Rich B, et al
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Could have been a minor stroke
I wish I were a one hit wonder in Majors.

I been hangin’ on threads
I been playin’ it straight
Now, I’ve just got to cut loose
Before it gets late
So I’m going
I’m going
I’m gone
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterZimmer Man
I agree it was bad form, don't know if I go as far as despicable. If I remember correctly a lot on this board were Ok with Rory throw his club 50 yards into a lake.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConvert
I think you are looking at it the wrong way. The guys over at No Laying Up have a blast with this kinda behavior (Tour Sauce) and it creates characters which are then fun to watch. Loosen up.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDH
Throwing your club 50 yards into a lake does no one damage except yourself.

Dumping your putter on the green is insulting and demeaning to your caddy, who last I checked is also a human being. It's just thoroughly disrespectful.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Gus,
As I wrote in the post, Dufner has not been willing to stop and talk to the press for two years, except maybe once at the Memorial that I recall. Hard for the press to do a bad job when the player won't stop and talk.
04.17.2017 | Registered CommenterGeoff
was this a big deal? Caddie just off camera, holding the pin. bag may have been on opposite side of green
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenterlastgroup
Dufner did this exact same club drop last year at Riveria when he was in last place after making cut. He thinks it's funny evidently, but he looks like a dirtbag doing it.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBradvanhalen
Geoff,
My bad, I obviously mis-read the opening paragraphs.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGus
Hard to take a guy seriously who has a wad of chewing tobacco firmly tucked in his bottom lip making his ridiculous soul patch stick out!! YUK!
I'm guessing this horrible habit wore a little thin with his wife...just sayin'
Where is he spitting? At least Tiger's spitting wasn't tobacco.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterC.C.
Bad taste on his part? Yes. As far as the media blackout, don't blame him. When your (ex)wife sleeps around on tour and the general public has all the details because of the media...
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterAdamup
Has maturity and emotional issues. Hopefully the guy get himself straightened out. Shame to mail it in when you're blessed to be playing on the PGA Tour.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul
Glad to see him called out.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
David, I have caddied in tour events, trust me a tour caddie can handle that situation.

Which would you rather see your son do, throw a club or drop a putter? Both are bad form, but I would rather my son not emulate a club thrower..
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConvert
A - Dufner has a better Poker face than Doyle "Dolly" Brunson; it's like he's is on a constant lithium drip. So to the folks making assumptions about the Duff's intent, give me a break, you don't know jack.

B - Dufner's caddie was holding the flagstick making him responsible for replacing it in the cup (the exact location Dufner left his putter).

C ) Alex Miceli is a d-bag blow hard and should not be encouraged. Why would Jason deign to the media when he is falsely maligned by their paid hacks?
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdownlowkey
Followed Dufner early Friday with my kids. The whole threesome (Simpson and Perez) played well. I agree he walks the fairways without purpose. But he did take the time to interact with my kids. Lot's of eye-contact and he handed a ball to my 9-year old. Now he's got at least one big fan. He's obviously not totally checked out.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Savannah
A few responses to previous posts:

@Dufner: hard to know the true intention of that drop. I am one to give people the benefit of the doubt (e.g., maybe Duf thinks its funny; maybe Duf and his caddie have an ongoing bet). However, Duf's friendship with Steve Elkington is worrisome and makes me question his judgment a bit more than I would have in, say, 2013.

@Keith-NYC: if David Toms is a "won hit wonder" having won a major, a WGC, and 10+ regular PGA tour events, then that puts almost everybody in that category. His record is VERY comparable to Fred Couples and better than Paul Azinger. (Not sure why I care about this).

@ZimmerMan: such a great song, listened to it many, many times on repeat while writing my dissertation. Robbie Robertson plays the guitar part as PERFECTLY as can be played in that one. Wished Bob and the Band hadn't rushed through recording that album though; it could have used some extra time. But they wanted something out quick to support that massive 1974 tour.
Interesting A, B, C take on life there, downlowkey.

Personally, I was pulling for him to win some extra cash to renew his gym membership.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
I assumed it was mostly a bit.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDon
Neil - your're 100% right about Toms....excellent player and very good career with more than a few quality wins...and seems to be a great guy and family man....my comment may have been prompted by a quick google search up to check what year Dufner won the PGA at Oak Hill and happened to notice there were a few guys in 'recent years' that posted the PGA as their only major title and several of those stand far less in terms of career accomplishments as David Toms...and just to state the obvious, my name was not on that list of Wanamaker Trophy winners :)
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
"Why would Jason deign to the media when he is falsely maligned by their paid hacks?"

Please explain with examples, thanks.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMulva
I thought I saw Dufner do an on-camera interview with Amanda Balionis on CBS Saturday or am I hallucinating? Maybe he has a thing for Amandas. She is an excellent addition for CBS Golf IMO.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.
The way he was so badly taken for a ride and publicly shamed by that gold-digging ex-wife, would put anybody in a bad mood for a while.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@Mulva

Did you even read Alex Miceli's take on the Dufner putter drop?

Alex begins with "What is Jason Dufner's problem?" -- To color the narrative Miceli immediately presents us with some false logic. A more accurate characterization might be "Would you be willing to listen to me talk about the problem I have with Jason Dufner?" Which to me is indicative of Alex's personal distaste for Dufner prior to the putter drop on which he wishes to shine a light and additionally conflate as a trend of insolent behavior. The only real trend here is Jason's refusal to speak with the blow hard puff producers of Miceli's ilk. And I don't blame Dufner one bit for avoiding idiots like Alex who despite being well paid to write about GOLF for living, construct phrases like "Dufner walks the fairways every week as if someone were drawing blood from his veins, lifeless and without purpose." What the hell kind of imagery is that intended to evoke? You can't draw blood from a lifeless individual and Jason's "purpose" is to complete 72 holes of golf in as few strokes as possible. The entertainment of athletics is in the skill, not the personality type. Dufner doesn't get riled up about anything and has obviously decided that outlook works for his golf game. Were I Jason Dufner and a media personality slandered me to the point of call me behavior despicable and deserving of $114K fine, my next call would be to a good lawyer. Alex Miceli is the only one in this situation clearly showing their despicable intentions.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdownlowkey
Can't believe the excuses making on Dufner's behalf. Convert...I caddied on Tour for 12 years...that behavior is just plain unacceptable and most of the caddies I ran with years ago would have handled it much differently and we will just leave it at that. Dufner is plain miserable...gotta be one of the worst pairings out there. A guy who was easy to cheer for a couple years ago has managed to make himself easy to cheer against in a short amount of time. Let's put Poulter on that list, too. He got introduced on the first tee yesterday, the fans cheered, and he totally ignored them...what a self-absorbed stiff!
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commentersurfmeister
downlowkey, you've got quite a few facts really mixed up and probably shouldn't make comments if you don't know how things work with the media and the tour players. Your first really poor fact is Miceli "being well paid to write about golf". Do you know how much he's paid? By whom? No one pays him but himself genius, he's the founder and owner of Morning Read. And if you think there's a bunch of writers who follow the Tour and "are well paid" you again are out of touch with reality. That world doesn't exist anymore. As for Dufner, are you saying his behavior is acceptable? Are golf writers, who are on-site at tournaments, not supposed to write about things that they see themselves that they find unacceptable? The ironic part is guys like you are the first ones to call out golf writers for being too scared to write anything bad about players lest they won't be liked. Here Miceli proves that theory (made by many on this site through the years) to be totally false, and then gets hammered by fools like yourself. Your suggestion to Dufner to find a lawyer to sue a writer for calling him despicable may be the funniest thing I've read on this site in many years. Should Lexi also sue writers who have questioned her ball marking skills?
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMulva
I've been a big fan of Dufner all along, loving his laconic demeanor and dry wit -- and feeling extra sorry (though ultimately glad) that his fun-loving wife decided he wasn't cool or fun enough for her. About this "incident," I'd like to hear his side of things. It could have been a joke with his caddy, could have been a "signal" to give him some space, could have been a psych-up maneuver... It didn't harm the green half as much as Sergio's 18th-green punch, which seemed to me disrespectful in the extreme despite being spontaneous. In both cases, I know, the green wasn't going to be used again for awhile...

I actually think Miceli has more brains than a lot of his peers, but this column struck me as a mean-spirited pile-on. There must have been plenty of things to write about, and he chose to kick a guy when he's down without asking his side of the story. And, as far as I can recall, Dufner has ALWAYS played as emotionless as he does now.

I'll give 'em both a mulligan today.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
@Mulva

If you think that Alex Miceli doesn't stand to gain...nay demand monetary recompense for his work as a journalist, you are the one who is mixed up. Moreover he endlessly leverages his celebrity journalist status to line his pockets, typically based solely on his warped personal opinion.

The only missive I offered on Dufrner's behavior made note of his predictably stone faced demeanor thus anyone claiming to accurately surmise his intentions is talking out of their a$$.

I would caution you about using phrases such as "fools like you are the first to XYZ" when I have done no such thing, because it only puts your ignorance on display.

Are you defending Alex Miceli's logic that Dufner's dropped putter is behavior sooooo "despicable" that a fine identical to his 11th place RBC winnings should be levied against him?

Maybe you could actually address the points I posit next time you reply in reference to my personal opinion. I remain doubtful...but maybe you'll surprise me.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdownlowkey
I'll defer to Surfmeister regarding Dufner's likability, assuming Surf has inside information from the current crop of caddies. It's comforting to hear David in Savannah's report on Duf's friendliness to some fans, including young ones. Again, I'm thinking double-mulligan, though perhaps I'm being generous...
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
"Are you defending Alex Miceli's logic that Dufner's dropped putter is behavior sooooo "despicable" that a fine identical to his 11th place RBC winnings should be levied against him?"

YES

Also just figured out why you recommend Duf seek a lawyer for slander. "recompense", great word counselor. Onto your next frivolous lawsuit. Ha ha.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMulva
Because is and has always been a class act, that by the way, is 10th on the all time money winning list. I guarantee you that if Monty can be in the Hall of Fame without every winning a major or even a PGA tour event and Toms can win 13 times plus a major, the Toms should have every right to be in the HOF, if Monty is worthy.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJim
". When your (ex)wife sleeps around on tour and the general public has all the details because of the media... "

Adam I've seen others say that also but don't recall seeing any media report that, just guys on boards like this or Twitter, got any links to support that claim?
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBogey
@Mulva

I'd venture the extent of the irony regarding what you do not consider to be a frivolous reaction in reference to a _OneHundredFourteenThousand_ dollar fine for simply letting your putter fall onto a green, is entirely lost on you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you sincerely for the laughs.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdownlowkey
Forget all the baloney about his wife, and his poor relationship with the press, and all the rest.

Dropping your putter on the ground and having your caddy pick it up is poor form. Just give the putter to your caddy, and go to the next tee.

We certainly don't want to see other players doing this, or worse, our kids.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterHardy Greaves
Convert - I've caddied on tour as well and I and everyone I know would find this unacceptable.

As for it being a joke. Highly doubt it considering he had just tapped in for a 6 on a par 5.

Dufner has morphed into a seriously miserable individual.
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Simply a sign of the times on PGA Tour. The "cattle" are out of the barn, roaming the fairways. Players now think they are bigger than the Game, and with purses like the US Open, they are!
04.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRich S

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